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Millersville University goes "All In" with virtual campaigns to get students registered to vote

Millersville hasn't just kicked things into high gear because of COVID-19. Years ago they began an initiative with a goal to have all students registered by 2020.

LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — Election Day is right around the corner, and typically universities across the country would be flooded with campaigns and voter registration booths. 

However, COVID-19 has put a wrench in campaigns on campuses across the country with schools having to go the virtual route. 

Millersville University is working with their students and behind the scenes every single day to make sure their voices are heard.

The University hasn't just kicked things into high gear because of COVID-19. Years ago they began an initiative with a goal to have all students on campus registered to vote by 2020.

The commitment to have all students registers to vote on campus comes from the “ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge,” a non-partisan initiative created to increase student voting rates and civil engagement. More than 650 campuses, enrolling more than 7.5 million students, have joined the challenge since its launch in the summer of 2016. 

Millersville University is committed to achieve 100% student voter registration status by 2020. 

Lori Leaman, the Program and Events Coordinator on campus says every day they are working behind to scenes to make sure students have all of the resources they need to vote and be registered to vote. 

Right now, she says the focus has been reaching students on social media platforms and sending out daily blasts since in-person campus events can't be held. 

"Their vote is their voice, we want them to be successful and in order to be successful you know it is probably the most important thing they can do," said Leaman.  

Dr. Adam Lawrence is also extremely involved on campus, he is the Associate Professor of Government and Political Affairs at Millersville. 

In recent years, he says students have really been getting involved and he even moderates debates between participating parties. 

Thanks to their "All In" program, student voter turnout has increased. 

In 2018, Millersville University saw a student voting rate of nearly 42%. He says this was higher than the average 39% voting rate of all institutions participating. 

For the midterm election in 2018, Millersville was even recognized as a Gold Campus for their efforts in excellent student voter engagement. 

One thing that Dr. Lawrence says is challenging, is the three polling locations offered to students. He says they are placed throughout the borough but it would be more beneficial to get one on campus, which they are hoping for. 

"In early efforts looking to create a new polling location but here on campus, students will literally only have to walk across the street to cast their vote, and that would be one of the best things we can do to promote civic engagement here at Millersville University," said Dr. Lawrence. 

Despite COVID-19 forcing election and in-person campaign events to go virtual, Dr. Lawrence says he is proud to see the amount of students involved and making sure their voices are heard. 

You can learn more about the "All In" challenge here

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